GOP dominates Hispanic Presidential hopefuls of past & present

OPINION This past weekend several prominent Republicans raced to the Hawkeye state to speak to political grassroots activists about their positions on policy issues at the Iowa Freedom Summit. Thus, began the race for the 2016 presidency in the Republican Party. Democrats in the meantime haven’t held a similar type meeting, but their leading candidate — Hillary Clinton, who has yet to declare her presidential candidacy — is already being challenged by the likes of former Virginia Senator Jim Webb and possibly Vice President Joe Biden, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. SEE ALSO: The Republican primary race unofficially kicks off for 2016 Noticeably absent from this list is a person of Hispanic origin. In spite of Hispanics strongly supporting the Democratic Party and Democratic presidential candidates over the years, there has never been a Hispanic to throw their hat in the presidential ring. Not so for the Republicans. Where are the Hispanics in the Democratic Party? Presidential political history rarely mentions that the first person of Hispanic origin to run for United States President from a major party ticket was Republican Ben Fernandez. There were some that took his candidacy as a joke, but I saw it as paving the way for more Hispanics to run president in the future. Interestingly, Mr. Fernandez won enough primary votes to earn three delegates to the Republican Convention in 1980. Certainly that wasn’t a strong showing, but for a minority of that era, his political support was quite an accomplishment and eye catcher. Don’t forget about Ben Fernandez Ben Fernandez was born in Kansas in 1925. His parents came to America illegally to seek a better life. One of seven children, Fernandez was born in a converted boxcar, which earned him the name “Boxcar Ben.” It wasn’t a complimentary term but Fernandez didn’t seem to mind, it served to remind voters that he was a man of the people despite having earned millions from smart investments and being a business and economic consultant. He ran again in 1984 and 1988 but he didn’t gain much ground during these two election cycles as he had in 1980. He was a man ahead of his time, urging the Republican leadership to embrace the fast growing Hispanic population, which he felt were more in tune with Republican principles than those of the Democratic Party. He became a staunch Republican, and when a reporter once told him that the Republican Party was a party of the rich, he quickly responded, Sign me up, I’ve had enough of poverty.” Fernandez died in 2000 and so it seems did his Republican legacy. Today’s Hispanic Presidential Candidates At last weekend’s Iowa’s Freedom Summit, wannabe U.S. presidents attended to gain more national attention. Ted Cruz, among others, was one of those in attendance and while Marco Rubio didn’t attend, all signals from his team thus far indicate he may run for president. Interestingly, Citizens United and Congressman Steve King who is against anything suggestive of a path to legal residency for the millions of immigrants in this country illegally, sponsored the Iowa Freedom Summit. In King’s way of thinking, the parents of Ben Fernandez would have been deported and this country wouldn’t have benefited from Fernandez’s dedication and courage to serve his country during World War II nor from his participation in politics. SEE ALSO: If 2016 were today, Latinos would vote Democrat It’s time to pay our respects to the minority pioneers that began not just “talking but walking” politics and certainly Ben Fernandez earned his star in this arena. While Ted Cruz was being raised in Canada and Marco Rubio’s parents were newly arrived Cubans in this country, Ben Fernandez was busy paving the way for politicians like them to one day run for president from the Republican Party. Next time they speak about their roots, both Cruz and Rubio ought to make it a point of evoking the name of Ben Fernandez; after all it was he who became the first Hispanic to have the courage to run against all odds for President of the United States from a major political party and it was his parents who came to this country seeking a better life which their children apparently enjoyed and more importantly, they contributed significantly to our country’s well being.The post GOP dominates Hispanic Presidential hopefuls of past & present appeared first on Voxxi.

FILE: In 2008 former Governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson wanted the Democratic nomination to run for president. As a Democrat, he’s in the minority of Hispanics who historically have campaigned to be president of the United States.. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

OPINION

This past weekend several prominent Republicans raced to the Hawkeye state to speak to political grassroots activists about their positions on policy issues at the Iowa Freedom Summit. Thus, began the race for the 2016 presidency in the Republican Party.

Democrats in the meantime haven’t held a similar type meeting, but their leading candidate — Hillary Clinton, who has yet to declare her presidential candidacy — is already being challenged by the likes of former Virginia Senator Jim Webb and possibly Vice President Joe Biden, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.

SEE ALSO: The Republican primary race unofficially kicks off for 2016

Noticeably absent from this list is a person of Hispanic origin. In spite of Hispanics strongly supporting the Democratic Party and Democratic presidential candidates over the years, there has never been a Hispanic to throw their hat in the presidential ring. Not so for the Republicans.

Where are the Hispanics in the Democratic Party?

Presidential political history rarely mentions that the first person of Hispanic origin to run for United States President from a major party ticket was Republican Ben Fernandez. There were some that took his candidacy as a joke, but I saw it as paving the way for more Hispanics to run president in the future.

Interestingly, Mr. Fernandez won enough primary votes to earn three delegates to the Republican Convention in 1980. Certainly that wasn’t a strong showing, but for a minority of that era, his political support was quite an accomplishment and eye catcher.

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Don’t forget about Ben Fernandez

Ben Fernandez was born in Kansas in 1925. His parents came to America illegally to seek a better life. One of seven children, Fernandez was born in a converted boxcar, which earned him the name “Boxcar Ben.” It wasn’t a complimentary term but Fernandez didn’t seem to mind, it served to remind voters that he was a man of the people despite having earned millions from smart investments and being a business and economic consultant.

Latino presidential candidate Ben Fernandez appears on a button.
Ben Fernandez was the first Latino to seek the presidency of the United States. He seeked the Republican nomination. (Photo: American Taino Blog)

He ran again in 1984 and 1988 but he didn’t gain much ground during these two election cycles as he had in 1980. He was a man ahead of his time, urging the Republican leadership to embrace the fast growing Hispanic population, which he felt were more in tune with Republican principles than those of the Democratic Party.

He became a staunch Republican, and when a reporter once told him that the Republican Party was a party of the rich, he quickly responded, Sign me up, I’ve had enough of poverty.”

Fernandez died in 2000 and so it seems did his Republican legacy.

Today’s Hispanic Presidential Candidates

At last weekend’s Iowa’s Freedom Summit, wannabe U.S. presidents attended to gain more national attention. Ted Cruz, among others, was one of those in attendance and while Marco Rubio didn’t attend, all signals from his team thus far indicate he may run for president.

Interestingly, Citizens United and Congressman Steve King who is against anything suggestive of a path to legal residency for the millions of immigrants in this country illegally, sponsored the Iowa Freedom Summit. In King’s way of thinking, the parents of Ben Fernandez would have been deported and this country wouldn’t have benefited from Fernandez’s dedication and courage to serve his country during World War II nor from his participation in politics.

SEE ALSO: If 2016 were today, Latinos would vote Democrat

It’s time to pay our respects to the minority pioneers that began not just “talking but walking” politics and certainly Ben Fernandez earned his star in this arena. While Ted Cruz was being raised in Canada and Marco Rubio’s parents were newly arrived Cubans in this country, Ben Fernandez was busy paving the way for politicians like them to one day run for president from the Republican Party. Next time they speak about their roots, both Cruz and Rubio ought to make it a point of evoking the name of Ben Fernandez; after all it was he who became the first Hispanic to have the courage to run against all odds for President of the United States from a major political party and it was his parents who came to this country seeking a better life which their children apparently enjoyed and more importantly, they contributed significantly to our country’s well being.

The post GOP dominates Hispanic Presidential hopefuls of past & present appeared first on Voxxi.